The Long Riders' Guild

Book ID 817

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The Long Riders' Guild,
Extract Author: Esther Stein and Horst Hausleitner
Extract Date: 8 December 2003

The welcome in Tanzania

"Well, Horst's worm is gone, I had more, smaller ones, but they are also gone. We look fantastic - from the back. We've lost a lot of weight but our faces look ten years older. The sun is damn strong and the rain doesn't really want to come. We had a little but it stopped again. It's already a month late the people say. We are in Tanzania by the way.

The horses had a few minor problems still in Zambia. Trine's saddle sore needed a drain, Sambok had a stiff neck from the injection against Nagana, he and Misty had got mange (caused by mites), and Roland had an allergic reaction against I don't know what, his whole body was covered with pimples as big as a man's fist- but now they're are all fine.

The welcome in Tanzania was overwhelming. In Tunduma the children threw stones at us and yelled "Wazungu motherfucker, wazungu go home!!" At night they untied the horses and chased them away. It took us two hours to find them the next morning. I would have loved to follow their suggestion to go home, but the only number I had from someone in Tanzania who has to do with horses and might have been able to organize a transport for the horses was wrong. So we went on.

Tanzania is a very extreme country. People are either very polite or very rude. They are definitely all very complicated. One must report to the police, then to the village chairman, and then to the village executive officer to get permission to pitch a tent somewhere. And then it might still happen that you get chased away because you are in front of a school and the school director is a Muslim whereas the village chairman who allowed you to use this place is a Christian and hasn't talked to the director first.

And no one speaks English. I'm become almost perfect in stuttering Swahili. The children are plenty, very aggressive and completely uneducated. Women are only plenty and uneducated. They both get treated by the men like cattle, beaten with the stick, but it seems it is the only language they do understand. We are never alone, people are staring at us every second of the day. If we ask them to leave us alone they just make fun of us. The pepper-spray and the bullets of the pencil flair are almost gone, I wonder what we'll use against lions in the Serengeti but I'll rather be eaten by lions than refuse to react to the provocations of the children.

Today in Singida there were about 2000 people following us and for the first time someone tried to rob us. I had just unpacked the pepper-spray against the children when I turned around and saw a guy trying to pull down my saddlebag. He did me a favour by giving me a reason to offload all the aggression that has grown in the last weeks. He got a full load of the pepper-spray and afterwards I hit him with the whip across his face.

Now we are in something called a hotel. Well for Tanzania its luxury but in fact the best thing about it is the fence around it. Privacy for two days.

Well you see we have it quite funny here and we are not in the mood to give up any more after we have made it so far. I hope by Christmas we'll make it up to Karatu. There - we've heard - is the first tourist lodge. We are looking forward to spend Christmas and New Year in some sort of civilisation but one never knows how reliable information is in this country.

Well, enjoy your soft beds (we don't miss them), the TV (we don't miss it either), cool drinks (we miss them sometimes) and the possibility to close the door of your house or flat behind you and keep everyone outside - we miss that terribly.

All the best Esther and Horst"

The Long Riders' Guild sent a quick email to Esther and Horst to wish them well, and received the following response.

"Today, after a so-called continental breakfast: 2 pieces of bread and just enough butter for one piece, hot water and instant coffee, no milk, no jam, no tea and of course no cheese or anything like this, we feel already completely recovered again. One becomes modest in Africa.

All the best Esther and Horst"

Extract ID: 4774

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The Long Riders' Guild,
Extract Author: Esther Stein and Horst Hausleitner
Extract Date: 10 December 2003

The horses have had plenty of green grass

Several Long Riders wrote to Esther after seeing the latest message. Luckily, she and Horst have taken a couple of days off and were able to see their emails at once. This is what they wrote:

"Dear Basha and all Long Riders!

We have received emails from several Long Riders. I didn't answer them individually - I hope you don't mind but I want to thank you all this way. You have no idea how much it helps to read your encouraging words and realize that you haven't forgotten us and follow the news on our page at the Long Riders' Guild website. Thank you all.

Tomorrow we leave here early. We have heard that between here and Karatu there is drought and hunger and no maize available. But there are a few missions on the way and we hope we'll be able to buy some food for the horses there. It will be two hard weeks for the horses, but they had a much better rest here in Singida than we did.

This so-called hotel is 10 times as expensive as a normal local guesthouse, which means the price of a double bedroom costs a third of the average monthly wage in Tanzania. But we have our own bathroom with a bathtub here (instead of the normal 1m x 0,75 m empty rooms in the guesthouses). There is also a door and a hole between at the bottom of the opposite wall, from which cockroaches emerge as soon as it gets dark. This is a luxury though, because of the door.

You take your bucket full of milky-white or muddy-brown water into it and can wash yourself before it gets dark, which means you can use the repellent when it makes sense and not wait until you are already half eaten. Here we have a bathtub and a sink and the price even included the continental breakfast [mentioned above]. The plug in the bath didn't work, the sink leaked, the mosquito net had big holes in it, and "continental breakfast" means you're allowed to use their dishes.

But the horses have had plenty of green grass, so we feel good and in the right mood to go on.

Stay well Esther and Horst"

Extract ID: 4775

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The Long Riders' Guild,
Extract Author: Esther Stein and Horst Hausleitner
Extract Date: 22 December 2003

A Horror Story

"We are in Karatu but more dead than alive. We've lost Trine through a snake-bite, but that was only a minor problem compared to what happened afterwards.

Two days ago we left the mission in Dongobash where the people had tried to cheat us (harmless, it happens everywhere). The whole day children followed us, screaming and bothering the horses. We had no bullets left, so there was nothing we could do. They even followed me into the bushes when I wanted to pee. When we complain about this, the adults always say, "But they only want to watch." I couldn't cope any more. At midday we reached the next mission, Tlawi. We'd been told that this mission had a fence, well, that's wrong again. Masses of children are with us when we reach it. I ask for someone who speaks English. The sister in charge comes - a fat, slow woman who doesn't understand very much. I tell her who we are and that we are looking for a quiet place to pitch our tent for one night.

I also ask her if she can help us to get rid of the children. "Yes," she says, but she doesn't do anything. Horst asks for water for the horses, and gets the same answer, the same reaction. I just can't stand it any more. We decided not to stay there, but to rest and then go on to Mbulu. There is a bigger mission there, maybe they have a fence. It's hot, I need a toilet and I want to be alone. A man comes - I find out later he's a priest. He doesn't introduce himself. He asks where we are from. I tell him I won't answer any more questions as long as people keep staring at me. "But they only...."

That's it! I jump up and yell at him, "I'm sick of this argument. I have been hearing it for more than two months now. I don't care what they want. I want to have my privacy. You think that because I'm white I have to accept everything. I have to give every drunk beggar a cigarette or some money. I have to smile when people follow me into the bushes because they have never seen a white arse. I have to accept that people charge me a higher price because of my colour. But I won't accept it any more. I'm sick of this terrible country."

He listens very calmly and then answers, "But you know, the people here have never seen...." He doesn't finish. I run to one of the staring women and lift her skirt. She laughs, but the priest is shocked. "She doesn't like it," I yell, "But I don't care. I only want to look - like your children. Do you understand now how I feel?"

Eventually I leave her alone. They probably think I'm completely insane now and it would be better not to provoke me any more. The children get chased away finally and the people from the mission go voluntarily. We have peace. After half an hour. we want to leave. The sister in charge comes and offers us lunch. "No, thank you we just want to get away from here."

No one follows us from the mission but down in the village it starts again. This time its adults, men mainly. They try to pull the horses' tails and chase them. Bucki is only shod on the front feet, Roland and Misty aren't shod at all any more. We are running out of shoes. The track is very stony and the horses can only cope on tiptoe. It hurts them.

Horst rides in front with Roland. Misty is packhorse and I follow on Bucki. I try to turn him around to chase the people away, but its hard to make him gallop. More and more people are joining meanwhile - now there are about 500. They come from all sides. The local Barbaic travel with long walking sticks. One of the men starts hitting Bucki with his stick. I try to defend him with the whip but it's not long enough. I can't hit the man. His stick is longer. Now he starts hitting me. I scream for Horst.

When he sees what happens he jumps off his horse and starts beating my attacker. That's the beginning of a war. Everything happens at the same time. 500 people start throwing stones at us. Some of them are as big as footballs. I'm hit by a few smaller ones Horst goes down. I scream in Swahili : "I'm a German journalist, I'm going to write about this." Two guys try to help us. They run in front of Horst and spread their arms to protect him and try to calm the people. The horses are just wonderful. During the whole time Roland and Misty were loose. When they were hit they just made a jump forward but didn't run away. Now Horst gets back on the horse and we go away.

When we have reached a distance of about 500 meters our two helpers follow us to ask questions. Not a good idea. The attackers start running again and follow us with war cries and stones. We must gallop. I'm afraid the luggage might fall but there is no alternative. These bastards keep following but the distance between us grows bigger. Then a curve in the road. They can't see us any more. We keep running but then the path goes steeply down between big rocks, and we have to slow down. After a little while the leader of our attackers comes around the corner. When he sees us he yells something over his shoulder and soon there are again more people. Most of them gave up but about 50 are still following with stones in their hands and the distance between us gets smaller and smaller.

Shortly before they reach us a pick-up comes from the other direction with a armed guy in uniform at the back. Our pursuers run away and I greet the policemen with overwhelming gratitude. I changed their mood without knowing it. It turns out they didn't come to rescue us but to arrest me because a had offended the woman in Tlawi by lifting her skirt. A second car comes with a German doctor. She had witnessed the stone attack and sent the police in the right direction. Now she comes to me and says in German "Oh you poor dear what happened to you?" Sympathy is so rare in Africa but it feels so good, I start crying again. She convinces the policemen to let us go to Mbulu mission first before further interrogation to let us unsaddle the horses. The police car escorts us.

At the mission are more Europeans - a German couple, Lukas and Carmen. Lukas is a water engineer. After the horses are taken care of we get tea. Finally the interrogation takes place in the living room of our German hosts. So many people have gathered outside the house that even the local policemen feel uneasy. Meanwhile the nun and the priest from Tlawi have arrived. After our papers are found in order and I've told my story, they and the leader of the police are still trying to find something against me. 3 other policemen seem to be sympathetic. Lukas has called the bishop's secretary who is senior to the nun and the priest from Tlawi, and with his help and the help of the Swahili-speaking Germans I remain free. What a day. Horst's leg hurts and I have a few minor bruises but besides that we are fine and our host invited us to a European dinner with real bread, cheese and sausages. We have a few more days to ride to Karatu. From there we can go by bus to Arusha and the first thing we buy will be a gas-gun or any other kind of weapon."

The Long Riders' Guild sent an urgent message to Esther and Horst, telling them to be even more on their guard in future, and suggesting that they either enlist the aid of the local authorities or get some native people to travel with them and guard them. After a few days' of worrying silence, we received the following reassuring message.

Extract ID: 4776

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The Long Riders' Guild,
Extract Author: Esther Stein and Horst Hausleitner
Extract Date: 25 December 2003

An internet cafe called "Bytes"

"First the good news: we've got everything here, bread, butter, even turkey today. Karatu turned out to be a paradise. Hidden among the mud huts is a internet cafe called "Bytes" run by an English couple, Chris and Tanya [Sandy]. After only 2 minutes of knowing us Chris offered us the use of his ancient Range Rover while we are here. That means the horses can rest at Kudu Campsite where the owner, a local!!!! offered us a special price when he heard what we are doing and we are still mobile. The campsite is clean, has warm water and enough grass for the horses. The food in the internet cafe "Bytes" is excellent and affordable. We are going to have Christmas turkey today. And yesterday we drove to Plantation Lodge run by a German, spent the day at the swimming pool and had a wonderful 5 star Christmas dinner. When we wanted to pay Udo didn't charge us. Tanzania is a place of extremes. So don't worry too much about us. Right now we are in paradise and we won't go on before 2nd January.

Soon we will reach the Masai area. We've met other tribes likes the Sukuma who are somehow comparable to the Masai, they are nomads as well and live very traditional lives, and have been much more polite than the masses of mixed tribes. Besides, the Masai live in very scattered communities and so we don't expect to have groups of 1000 people following us.

But what will reassure you the most is that we are going to meet our Masai friend from Kenya and he'll guide us through the Masai area. I just got an email from him that he is not online right now but he will contact me on 1st January. That's why we are staying here in paradise at least until 2nd.

So don't worry, we have survived the hell and now enjoy Karatu and its wonderful people.

Merry Christmas to you all."

Extract ID: 4777

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The Long Riders' Guild,
Extract Date: 15 July 2004

Kifaru Lodge

New!! Esther and Horst have decided to sell their home in Austria and move to Tanzania! They will be leaving Europe on 15th July 2004 to go and run Kifaru Lodge in northern Tanzania -

We at The Long Riders' Guild are delighted that this courageous couple, who survived what was probably the most dangerous journey of modern times, will be reunited with their two horses very soon.

Extract ID: 4773